Serving Where God Leads
Deborah Jones, a member of Olive Baptist Church for more than 40 years, recently retired from her position as Assistant Manager of the Ministry Village Bargain Center. Deborah has been a vital part of the Bargain Center since before it opened in June 2013. We recently spoke with Deborah to hear her thoughts about how the Bargain Center has impacted the community and made a difference in her own life.
In 2013, Deborah learned that Ministry Village leadership was planning to open a Bargain Center to help fund its programs like the Charis House and Tender Hearts Caring Hands. Ministry Village Executive Director, Stan Lollar, and his wife were Deborah’s friends from Sunday School. When Stan announced that Ministry Village had found a building to rent and needed help with the planning and setup, Deborah took note but wasn’t really interested. She had worked retail for years, and she just didn’t feel ready to reenter that world. However, after some time passed, Deborah woke up one Saturday and told her husband she was heading to the new Bargain Center building. She wanted to go check it out and see if there was any way she could help. Stan and a few other leadership volunteers were at the new building when she arrived. After going on a tour, Deborah decided she would help them organize the merchandise.
Once she began organizing and deciding the best ways to display and highlight the sale items, Deborah was hooked. She instinctively knew this was where God wanted her to serve. This was a place she could make a difference — right here, right now. Her hesitation to jump back into the world of retail was gone. The Bargain Center was where she was meant to be.
Many volunteers worked together for weeks to gather donated items, clean them, research pricing, and organize the building into an efficient and welcoming retail store. As it became clear to everyone how well suited Deborah was for the job, and how much she enjoyed the work, she was asked to be the Assistant Manager for the Bargain Center. She was excited about the opportunity. Every day was an adventure with new donations coming in and new customers to meet and help.
“I just loved cleaning, pricing and watching things sparkle again,” said Deborah recently as she reflected on her time at the Bargain Center. “Organizing the store, merchandising everything – I just loved every aspect of the work. Plus, everyone that worked there formed such a good team. One person would have an idea about a display, another person would build on it, then someone else would build on that. We would get so excited seeing our ideas take shape.”
Working with the ladies from the Charis House was also a highlight for Deborah. She got to know the ladies personally as they served alongside her as part of their work therapy. She enjoyed seeing them grow and gain confidence as they spent time together. “They want so much to get back on their feet…to change their lives. And the Bargain Center was a tool to help get them to that point. It was such a blessing to see that happen.”
Near the end of 2018, Deborah felt the increasing need to focus more on her family. She began praying hard about retiring, trying to discern if this was the right time for her to step away from the work that she loved. Ultimately, she decided that it was time. Deborah retired at the end of November. “It was an emotional decision for me. I miss it every day. I miss everything about it – the people I worked with, the customers, organizing the donations – everything.” She is already planning to volunteer often so she can stay connected with the Bargain Center work and the family that she formed there over the years.
“The Ministry Village Bargain Center is just different from other thrift stores. I use to always tell people who hadn’t shopped there that it was the Gayfers of the Bargain Centers. It just outdoes the rest of them.” She was always amazed at the quality of the items people donated. Beautiful furniture, brand new clothing with tags still attached – every day was full of different treasures. Deborah emphasized that the Bargain Center volunteers and employees take special care to make sure items are clean and well presented to the customer. “Our store always smells so good – customers would tell us that time and time again. It isn’t musty and smelly. Things don’t feel crowded. It’s well organized and has a great layout.”
“It’s just a different kind of bargain center. I’m so proud of what God is doing there – how He brought us all together from that first group of volunteers. That first group of people was just handpicked by God. It was so fun to watch, and such a blessing to be a part of.”
Thank you, Deborah, for your leadership at the Ministry Village Bargain Center and your years of faithful service. Because you listened to God’s call when He spoke to your heart, you made a difference in our community and an impact through our ministry. We’re so happy to call you a friend, and we look forward to seeing you amongst our loyal group of volunteers for many years to come.
🏢 The Ministry Village Bargain Center is located at 3914 N. Davis Hwy in Pensacola, near the intersection of Davis and Fairfield, and is open Monday through Saturday, 9am to 6pm.
📦 Donations of items are accepted Monday through Saturday from 9am to 6pm. Tax receipts for your donations are also available. For donations of large quantities or large items (like furniture), the Bargain Center will come to you! Truck pickup is available by appointment. Call (850) 912-8222 to schedule a pickup time.
💪 To volunteer at the Bargain Center, call the store (850) 912-8222 during regular hours.
💲 The Bargain Center offers special sale days each week with discounts for seniors, military, teachers, and more.
🖥 Follow the Ministry Village Bargain Center on Facebook for the latest sales and exciting merchandise announcements!